Archive | January 2017

Review: Better Now: Six Big Ideas to Improve Health Care for All Canadians by Danielle Martin. Penguin Random House Canada

This is an intelligent, knowledgeable, and impassioned plea for the improvement of health care. It primarily addresses the Canadian health care system known as medicare, but the ideas are thought provoking to anyone who cares about patient care.


The author speaks of a Triple Aim (term coined by Dr. Don Berwick): (1) improve health of the population (2) improve patient experience of care and (3) lower–or hold–the per capita cost of care so the system is sustainable.

Dr. Martin goes on to offer what she calls Six Big Ideas to achieve these goals. She illustrates each idea with examples from actual patient stories.


This is an important statement on health care that, while focused on Canada, has much food for thought for the health system of any country. I am a mental health care provider in the United States. To date, I am not an advocate of the single payer system, but I value these well-expressed ideas.


My thanks to author, publisher and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book.


Review: 365 Ways to Live Generously: Simple Habits for a Life That’s Good for You and for Others, by Sharon Lipinski. Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.

Looking for a way to start your new year off on the right foot? This book could provide the answers and the path that you seek. As a practicing psychotherapist, I was quickly inspired by this author’s efforts. She has created a book that she fully intends to be a self-help–not a “shelf-help” book. That is, a book that is practical and meaningful that people will actually, as opposed to having it grace their shelf unopened. The book’s purpose, the author states, is to help the reader create new healthy habits and break old bad habits. The process uses two key concepts: mindfulness and generosity.

Mindfulness is a concept we hear about frequently these days. The author provides a simple, clear description of what mindfulness entails. The second concept, generosity, encompasses seven generosity habits: physical health, mindfulness, relationships, connecting with yourself, gratitude, simplicity, and philanthropy.

Sounds like a tall order, but the author has refined our tasks to the doable. The habits are grouped together by week; some include a monthly check-in. The process outlined in this book covers each day of a whole year (hence 365). For each of those days, we are given first a short insightful reading on a single subject, followed by “practice,” which often involves journaling.

I am so impressed with this book that I plan to recommend it to all my patients, and to the other therapists in my group practice. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking to take charge of their life on their own terms.

My thanks to author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing an advance copy to read and review.

Review: Two Books from Midnight Ink: (1) A Fatal Twist by Tracy Weber; (2) The Elusive Elixir by Gigi Pandian

A Fatal Twist, by Tracy Weber.  Midnight Ink

a-fatal-twistIf you like yoga, childbirth, puppies, and intrigue, this is your book. The author clearly knows her subject well, and brings us into the world of yoga with a multifaceted tale.

Kate Davidson is a yoga instructor and the central character here. There are at least three story lines to follow: one, the homicide of Doctor Richard Jones (“Dr. Dick”) a rather odious, appropriately named character. Kate gets involved when her good friend Rachel is suspected of the crime. Second, we have Rachel’s beautiful but quirky dog Bella, who needs lots of special care and loving attention. Then we have the two orphan labradoodle puppies who win hearts but also cause a lot of damage with their antics. We care about these people, and the dogs, and are drawn into finding solutions for all of them. How can all this be successfully resolved?

This is a lively and entertaining book that pulls at our heartstrings.

The Elusive Elixir, by Gigi Pandian.   Midnight Ink.

elusive-elixirZoe Faust is a charming woman with a secret–she’s more than 300 years old, having discovered the Elixir of Life by accident in her alchemical pursuits. Now she needs to help her friend Dorian, a Notre Dame de Paris gargoyle come to life but now slowly returning to stone. It involves a mysterious process Zoe calls “backward alchemy.”

Zoe undertakes to help her friend, but soon finds that she is into a very dangerous business with unscrupulous characters who will stop at nothing to gain their goals.

This is a richly imagined and wonderfully detailed story that takes the reader on an enthralling adventure.

My thanks to authors, publisher, and NetGalley for providing an advance copy to read and review.

Miss Seeton Rules by Hamilton Crane, Heron Carvic; Farrago.

What is it about Miss Seeton and Royalty? In an earlier book, she met, unexpectedly, with the Queen. This time, she shares an adventure with Her Royal Highness the Princess Georgina, a petite blonde who has become the country’s sweetheart.

There’s more to the story, of course. The residents of Plummergen continue their world-class ways with the village gossip mill. Add this year’s Guy Fawkes celebration, a local portable potty company that is seeking to improve business, a mysterious group using code names and kidnapping the Princess (while treating her well) and adding Miss Seeton when a companion is deemed appropriate for Georgy. But this princess is no shrinking violet, and the plotters get more than they bargained for, especially when Miss Seeton and all her stalwarts are added to the mix.

This is another lively, entertaining entry in this English village series.

My thanks to author, publisher, and NetGalley for providing an advance copy to read and review.